Kustom Chop Shop: 18 July 2009

18 July 2009: The RatRod--- My name is Samuel (HalfAssKustoms). I use that name for almost everything that has to do with CARS...I'm a car guy. I have had 8 old cars so far and I have a '62 Caddy now. I like everything old and cars!

For JULY, we will talk about the "RatRod". Now, because of the month that it is, the RatRod is going to be just right for it. The RatRod name is used for just about anything primered or not finished. And that just isn't right. The name RatRod came into use around 1994, when the car club Burbank Chopper went to a major kustom car show in Paso Robles, CA called West Coast Kustoms. This car show was a BIG step in showing the latest kustom cars. Burbank Chopper went to the show with four 1920-30's Ford roadsters all in primer and not even close to being done. Bear in mind that this was a show where all of the cars were complete and shining bright. One guy made a comment about Burbank's cars, saying "Look at that. Big headlights, big pipes, all primer black....looks like a RATROD!" And the name was born.
So what exactly is a RatRod? Well, a RatRod is a car/truck that can be fenderless. It also has to be a 1940 model year and under. Why?????

This is were this month comes in to play. Back in the 1940ís, soldiers were coming back from the war. They started to toy around with their cars with the goal of making them lighter and faster. To this day, customizers are doing the same thing they did back then...making them faster and lighter. And even if it isnít done, they drive them anyway.

So, a RatRod is just a 1920-30ís car/truck that is being souped up to be a HOTROD. Just not done yet.

1940 and higher, you'll want to have fenders on it. It would look dumb. Take a look at the car on the left in the picture below...lame.



Here is why it has to be 1940 and under:



Now there are some cars that were RatRod at one time, and kept the RatRod look.



And then there is this...not a RatRod or a ??????



So there you go...that's what a RatRod is and what it isn't!

Now your HW tip and trick of the month....PAINTING/SPRAY PAINT.

Well I am no pro, but I have had a few compliments on my paint jobs so I thought I would share how I do it.

First, I start out with nice clean casting that has already been stripped and is ready to go. The first step that I do is to apply some adhesion promoter. The stuff I use is called Bull Dog adhesion promoter and can be found in the automotive department of any Wal-Mart for about $7 a can. Always make sure that you shake your can vigorously for at least a minute before the first use and a few times while applying. When I do it, I actually count from 1 to 60 slowly as I am shaking. The longer you can stand to do it the better. I apply 2 very light coats of the promoter, letting it dry for about 5 minutes between coats. You don't want to use too heavy of a coat, because when it dries it will leave bumps in the finish from where it built up and you will have to strip it again before applying the paint. I let my last coat of the promoter set for about 10 to 15 minutes as you want it to still be a little tacky so that the first coat of paint has something to cling to.

After the promoter has dried for about 10 to 15 minutes, you can begin to apply your first coat of paint. There is no need for primer of any sort during this process. I start out with a HOK (House of Kolors) base coat, usually either white or silver but there are other choices of the base available. Always make sure that you shake your can vigorously for at least a minute before the first use and a few times while applying. Again, I count from 1 to 60 very slowly as I shake. I use anywhere from 2 to 3 coats depending on how well each coat covers the cast, allowing each coat about 5 minutes dry time. Always remember that the lighter the coat, the better. You can always apply more coats later. If you go too heavy, runs will start to form and you will be right back to the stripping stage again. Allow your last coat to dry for a good 30 to 45 minutes before handling or applying a overcoat.

Now, sometimes I just use the base as the color of my car depending on what I am going to do with it. Then, when I want a nice pearl effect to it or want the car another color I will do so. After allowing your last coat of the base to dry for at least 30 to 45 minutes, you can now start to apply your final color coat. For the pearl effect, I use the HOK snowflake white pearl. Remember the 1-60 shaking rule. The longer you can stand to do it the better. I will apply 2 coats of the pearl, allowing 5 minutes dry time between coats. This usually does the job for me, but feel free to apply more if you think that is what you need. Now, if you want to add some color to the car, you might want to use 3 or more coats of color depending on how well each coat covers the cast, allowing 5 minutes dry time between coats. Keep in mind, the lighter the coats the better, you can always add more coats but can't undo it if you go too heavy without stripping again. Always allow your last coat of color or pearl to dry for at least 30 to 45 minutes before handling, even longer if you can stand the wait.

At this point you can either apply your decals if that is your plan, or you can move on to the clear coat stage of the process. For some good "how to" decal pointers, click this link. Information courtesy of Rick from Flamingraphics.com.

Once you have decided to put your decals on or just clear coat, you can now accomplish this. I use the HOK clear coat, but there are some other very good brands out there. Just be careful, because some brands have a negative effect on one another. I apply my clear in the same way I apply the base and the color coats. Always make sure that you shake your can vigorously for at least a minute before the first use and a few times while applying. I apply at least 3 coats of clear allowing 5 minutes dry time between coats. you can apply as many coats as you want, depending on the look you're after. Always let the last coat dry for at least 30 to 45 minutes before handling, the longer you wait, the better.

If you have any questions or feel I have missed something, please feel free to contact me. I hope this information will help you somewhat in your journey to become a customizer.........

~Samuel Denehy